Mergers and acquisitions can drive strategic value, offer access to a ready-made pool of talent, and capture valuable intellectual property. But without a thoughtful integration strategy, M&A is a lot of money spent on a promise your company may never see come to fruition. The right investment bank can help you identify effective M&A strategies, then determine which acquisitions are most likely to help you meet your strategic goal. These are the six most effective—and most likely to succeed—M&A strategies:
Improve Performance in the Target Business
Improving the performance of the acquired company is a simple value generation strategy. This option usually forces on cutting costs to improve cash flows and margins. Private equity firms are especially successful at it. If you’re considering giving it a try, remember that it is usually easier to improve a company with low returns on invested capital and low margins.
Consolidate and Remove Excess Capacity
Growing industries typically develop excess capacity. Eliminating this can generate value for the companies that remain in industrey. In most cases, the value goes to the seller’s shareholders, not the buyer’s. Other competitors in the industry may also benefit from the reduced competition, so it’s important to assess how this might ultimately affect deal value.
Access Valuable Assets More Quickly
Especially in the world of technology, intellectual property is highly valuable. The right team, a product no one else in the industry has, proprietary technology, or access to certain customers can also drive value. Building these things on your own can take years, if you can build them at all. It’s often faster and cheaper to buy another company to access their valuable assets. Apple’s 2010 acquisition of Siri is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Now, Siri is indistinguishable from Apple in most consumer’s minds.
Expedite Market Access
Small companies are agile, allowing them to innovate. But they may have trouble penetrating the market. Consider how small pharmaceutical companies often struggle to compete with bigger entities, even when they have highly valuable products. Larger companies can purchase smaller organizations to gain access to their products while the smaller company benefits from the larger entity’s wider market penetration. This has been a consistent strategy of IBM, who acquired 43 companies between 2010 and 2013 alone.
Capitalize on Scalability
Economies of scale are a key value generation source in M&A. But you also must be cautious when acquiring these economies because large companies may already be operating at scale. So combining them will not produce additional value. That’s why a merger of UPS and USPS would be unlikely to offer much value. Instead, these mergers work best when there’s something the new company gains that none of the individual smaller companies had. For example, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Audi can come together to share the same platform, with each offering something unique to the market.